20 heroin-related deaths reported in Shelby Co. this year - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

20 heroin-related deaths reported in Shelby Co. this year

From January 2013 to this March, Memphis police reports over 200 heroin arrests. From January 2013 to this March, Memphis police reports over 200 heroin arrests.

(WMC) - Heroin is a dangerous and lethal drug that has been on the rise now in the Mid-South for the past two years. You can get it just about anywhere.

"It's poor, it's rich, it's median income. It's black, it's white, it's Hispanic," says Shelby County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Kevin Helms. "Very rarely do I find someone who says they did heroin one time and quit."

From January 2013 to this March, Memphis police reports over 200 heroin arrests.

In Shelby County, heroin overdose deaths tripled from 2011 to 2012. And so far this year, there have been over 20 heroin-related deaths.

In addition to being relatively inexpensive, heroin is also easily packaged and sold.

"It can be mashed in a bag, a lunch bag, or something from drive out food," adds Lt. Helms.

Officials say heroin addicts often start with an addiction to pain medication, then work their way up because they need a stronger high.

In many areas, college kids ages 18 to 25 are addicted to heroin. That's why parents need to start taking a look at their kids arms, fingers, and even toes.

"With heroin, you start to see those track marks," adds Lt. Helms.

Shelby County Drug Court Judge Tim Dwyer says heroin sale and use is a felony and brings eight years or more in jail for dealers and addicts.

"It's not been too long ago we had someone from court to go to rehab and they stopped by their house to get one last fix on the way and overdosed and died," says Judge Dwyer.

Heroin is not just a problem in Shelby County. Fayette and Tipton Counties are also seeing an increase in heroin cases, found during traffic stops and undercover operations.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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